Russian building collapse death toll rises

Emergency officers inspect rubble as they take part in a rescue operation after a gas explosion rocked a residential building in Russia's Urals city of Magnitogorsk

Emergency officers inspect rubble as they take part in a rescue operation after a gas explosion rocked a residential building in Russia's Urals city of Magnitogorsk

Twenty-one dead bodies have been recovered from the debris of an apartment block in Russian Federation that partially collapsed in an apparent explosion, while 20 people remained unaccounted for, authorities said Wednesday.

"The rescuers have recovered a boy's body from the rubble", the press service said.

A three-year-old girl was among the latest victims of the collapse in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Russian emergencies ministry.

The Monday pre-dawn disaster came after an explosion that officials say was likely caused by a gas leak.

Gas explosions are relatively common in Russian Federation, where much of the infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era and safety requirements are often ignored.

An 11-month-old boy who was pulled alive from the wreckage on Tuesday almost 36 hours after the building collapsed is in a serious but stable condition in a children's hospital in Moscow.

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Russian rescuers earlier revealed the boy survived the deadly blast and sub zero temperatures because he was in cot which remained intact despite the blast.

"One of the rescuers in our group, Andrei Valman, heard a child crying near the adjacent apartment block, near the part that was still standing." one rescuer, Pyotr Gritsenko, said.

Six people including two children have been rescued at the site, but no survivors have been found since Tuesday, when a 10-month-old boy was found in what officials described as a "New Year's miracle".

They spotted his leg and a pink sock. He was flown about 1,400 kilometres to the capital in a plane dispatched by the Health Ministry.

Wednesday has been declared a day of mourning in Chelyabinsk for those killed in the explosion.

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